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Fifteen Hallmark Hall of Fame Films to Watch

Hallmark - The Magic of Ordinary Days3
The Magic of Ordinary Days starring Keri Russell and Skeet Ulrich.

In addition to their more commercial Hallmark Channel principal (an entity that has tripled in the few years – I’ve followed its growth), the Hallmark brand first began producing films (some sixty plus years ago) under the “Hall of Fame” branding. In fact, way back on a December’s eve in 1951, their very first film aired, which happened to be an opera.

Those films once upon a time found a home on CBS channels before jumping to ABC for a brief stint and now, as of 2014, they too are housed under the Hallmark Channel umbrella. In those years, they have produced beautiful originals based on true stories or re-tooled classics for the 21st century, all colorfully brought alive by some amazing talent. In addition to that, they’ve stacked up 81 Emmy Awards and strive to present “original films that entertain, enlighten and inspire.” Having seen many of their productions, I can attest to the truth of this statement.

Since I began watching this line of films, among them I have found favorites and even amassed a small but well-rounded collection of them on DVD. From films we easily remember (and perhaps even place among our classic favorites) to titles that starred Hollywood royalty before they were famous, Hallmark Hall of Fame has given us quality entertainment for many years. Below is a round-up of a few of theses films. Among them are those I still remember fondly, while some deserve a watch simply for the cast. And when the occasion calls for it, I settle in for a re-watch of the titles that made it onto my essential favorites list.

Fifteen Hallmark Hall of Fame Films to Watch

Listed alphabetically from A-Z

1. Beyond the Blackboard

Air Date: April 2011

Hallmark - Beyond the Blackboard

Inspired by a true story, Emily VanCamp starred in this poignant story about a first-time teacher who inspires and changes the lives of her students, all of whom are taught out of a homeless shelter.

2. The Courageous Heart of Irena Sendler

Air Date: April 2009

Hallmark - Irena Sendler

Anna Paquin stars in the title role as a social worker who helped the underground effort to smuggle Jews out of Germany. Aside from Anna, Marcia Gay Harden co-stars and obscure or not, we see Michelle Dockery (Downton Abbey) appear.

3. Follow the Stars Home

Air Date: May 2001

Hallmark - Follow the Stars Home

One of the sweetest family films I’ve seen to date, this one is about a mother’s choice to have and raise her child who she learns is going to have severe disabilities. There are a lot of things that happen between the mother finding this out and the first 6 years of her daughter’s life, but the romance and a nice relationship developing between the young daughter and her companion are the driving forces. Kimberly Williams, Campbell Scott and Eric Close headline plus a young Alexa PenaVega.

4. In My Dreams

Air Date: April 2014

Hallmark - In My Dreams2

Sometimes a sweet romantic drama such as this is just what we need for a Saturday night movie. If you don’t mind a touch of the supernatural (the plot involves coins tossed into a fountain and unexplained dreams) and a film that keeps its leading male and female character apart for the majority, this one is a gem.

5. The Locket

Air Date: December 2002

Hallmark - The Locket2

Though it’s been years since last I watched this, it’s engrained in my memory as a sweet story of love and loss. Starring the great Vanessa Redgrave, it’s another story that intertwines two stories in a satisfying payoff when the ending rolls around.

6. The Lost Valentine

Air Date: January 2011

Hallmark - The Lost Valentine

Anyone who likes period dramas will appreciate this one, and those of us who prefer modern love stories will also find a charming story in this production. Entwined are two romances, decades apart with an emotional payoff that is sure to leave tears – both of bittersweet variety and joyful feelings.

7. The Love Letter

Air Date: February 1998

Hallmark - The Love Letter

One of the best costume dramas in the line, this is one story that multiple viewings later, became endearing. It switches off between the modern world and the Civil War, bringing us back to a quaint albeit confusing time in history. Plus, it’s all about the romance.

8. Loving Leah

Air Date: January 2009

Hallmark - Loving Leah

Unconventional at best, this romantic drama is… unique. A Jewish woman is left a widow, and tradition dictates that her husband’s brother marry his widowed sister-in-law, Leah. What begins as a plan to dissolve the tradition ends up in an awkward marriage that encounters the challenges anchored with one’s faith and the others lack of it.

9. The Magic of Ordinary Days

Air Date: January 2005

Hallmark - Magic of Ordinary Days

Bringing shame to her family’s name following an unwed pregnancy, a young woman is quickly and quietly married to a farmer and sent to live with him so as to hide her shame. The setting is post-WWII and stars Keri Russell.

10. Remember Sunday

Air Date: April 2013

Hallmark - Remember Sunday

Headlining this is one of our favorite Gilmore Girls, Alexis Bledel. She stars as a woman who meets a guy (Zachary Levi) whose memory is no longer than the span of a day. Think 50 First Dates, only with a softer, more emotional spin.

11. Rose Hill

Air Date: April 1997

Hallmark - Rose Hill

Though the story isn’t anything particularly hard-hitting, I always liked this sweet story of a band of orphan boys who discover a baby and wind up forming their own family to raise her. The story spans several years as we watch Rose grow up and stars a young Jennifer Garner.

12. The Russell Girl

Air Date: January 2008

Hallmark - The Russell Girl2

Keeping the Kleenex box handy is likely needed for this drama. A family story about a career girl who returns home to her small town where she once fled following a tragedy. She returns keeping a secret of her own. The cast is one impressive name after another including Amber Tamblyn, Paul Wesley, Tim DeKay and Jennifer Ehle (yes, Lizzie Bennet from A&E’s Pride and Prejudice).

13. Sarah, Plain and Tall

Air Date: February 1998

Hallmark - Sarah, Plain and Tall

A classic in its own right, this needs no introduction. The iconic story is about a woman who agrees to marry a widower with two children. Glenn Close plays Sarah, and Christopher Walken, Jacob.

14. The Secret Garden

Air Date: November 1987

Hallmark - The Secret Garden

Any of Frances Hodgson Burnett’s adapted works has been a delight. To this day, I do believe this adaptation is my favorite of the popular children’s literature. Plus, if you pay close attention, you’ll see a cameo of a young Colin Firth in the film’s closing scene, and you may spy a familiar filming location to that of ITV’s popular Downton Abbey.

15. The Valley of Light

Air Date: January 2007

Hallmark - The Valley of Light

WWII is the setting for this quiet drama. Like with many on this list, it follows a love story between a returning veteran and a widow. A deaf child also has a prominent storyline.

Fifteen is a small number of the films Hallmark Hall of Fame’s collection has inspired over its many years on television. Among those listed above, viewers will find something for everyone. True stories for those who like to be inspired; swoon-worthy gestures sure to sweep the romantic among us off our feet; and of course, those of us who enjoy period dramas will spot several of those among these numbers. No matter which of Hallmark’s signature collection you have seen, will see or wish to re-live, you’re sure to be entertained by something wonderful. Many of these films are available on Feeln – a new family oriented streaming site.

Which Hallmark Hall of Fame films do you like best? Comment below with thoughts on any of these or share what you like best about your favorites.

Photos: Hallmark / Crown Media

By on August 26th, 2015

About Rissi JC

Rissi is a self-diagnosed Bookaholic and TV fandom addict. She’s currently an avid blogger and reader who enjoys interacting with readers, and often dreams about finishing her first novel. When not writing or reading, she can be found working as an INSPYs advisory board member or contributing to e-zines. Her scribbles are housed on her blog Finding Wonderland (https://www.rissiwrites.com).

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40 thoughts on “Fifteen Hallmark Hall of Fame Films to Watch”

  1. Great article! Great movies! I absolutely LOVE Hallmark movies! One of my favorites is “The Love Letter”…the scene in the cemetery makes me cry every time I watch it. I highly recommend Hallmark movies and can’t wait to see what movies they produce in the future! 🙂

    • As do I. Hallmark consistently produces some of my most favorite productions. It’s been way too long since last I saw ‘The Love Letter,’ but I remember enjoying it. Here’s hoping for many more such productions from Hallmark in the future. Thanks for reading. 🙂

      • My All time Favorite will Always be The Magic of n have it on D hOrdlinary Days.I saw it years ago and fell in love with it .I have it on DVD and I never grow tired of it.Sadly to me the Hallmark channels are not what they use to be.I hardly watch the channels any more .The movies are very shallow.Unless they go back to Teally good movies with some depth I am not interested.Make movies like you Use to make. Naomi Joyce Beck

  2. I have only seen “The magic of ordinary days” out of all of these. And that only because YouTube recommended it to me, but it was so sweet. Besides, I loved the dresses and hats…
    What I like about Hallmark is that you always get to see your favourite sweet actresses again. Sadly we do not get the channel where I live, so it is Good Luck and YouTube for me.

    • I’m glad you enjoyed ‘Ordinary Days,’ Dalia. It’s one of my all-time favorites because the story is set in an era I like and of course, the fashion. 🙂

      Hallmark does bring back a lot of the same talent and that’s always fun. I don’t know if you can stream or not, but you might try Feelin (https://www.feeln.com/), which does feature many of these productions. 🙂

  3. From your list I’ve seen (and have a few) The Love Letter; The magic of ordinary days (love the clothes, how sweet/caring he his with her and the baby… he loved her on the spot!); The valley of light; The secret garden; Remember Sunday (it leaves a bittersweet taste on your mouth, it’s lovely, it’s painful, it’s life trowing you curve balls); Loving Leah (I found this by chance & I have since then lost count of many times I’ve re-watched & can’t explain why) & In my dreams (coins, fountain, dreaming of the one you belong to, being with them while dreaming, enjoying every bit of time until time runs out).

    I often see Hallmark’s movies and series such as When the heart calls (love Jack’s teasing side & Elizabeth’s feisty side (have you seen the movie?); Love comes softly saga; Arabian nights…

    I’ve seen The Colors of the rain (Kleenex box needed) The memory book (so sweet! Can I find a guy like him?); Finding Normal (makes you re-evaluate your priorities in life); Reel Love (a lawyer goes back to her hometown to take care of her sick and difficult father, where all they do is fishing (lol)); So you said yes (a man between the two women he loves most but hate each other…talk about complications); I do but I don’t (so many misunderstandings makes it funny); I do, I do, I do (talk about Fate and getting your (right) ducks on a row) ; A country wedding (childhood friends reconnected)… they’re not all HHF but still they’re Hallmark and they’re good movies.

    I’ve started watching their Hallmark Mysteries’ movies: Aurora Teagarden; The gourmet detective… they’re entertaining.

    • Thanks for sharing what you’ve seen and liked, Ana. I agree with the thoughts you put after each film. I’m especially fond of this version of ‘The Secret Garden’ and ‘Loving Leah,’ just because it’s unconventional, and for whatever reason, I like that about it. 🙂

      I have seen WCTH. I believe I’m pretty current with it too (the original movie, first season) though I did skip a few episodes of season two.

      ‘The Memory Book’ is one of my favorites as well, and I really liked ‘So You Said Yes.’

      The mystery series are cute. I’ve enjoyed each I’ve seen, particularly ‘Gourmet Detective’ since it reminds me so much of ABC’s ‘Castle.’

      • Hi Rissi! I agree with you. “Gourmet Detective” has a tone that do resembles “Castle” and from their mysteries shows it’s my favorite (and I like the actor (a lot!) since Sabrina TTW and Dawson’s Creek).

        I saw season 2 of WCTH until ep 6, are there more?

        I have an eclectic taste & it all depends on my mood, sometimes I can’t stop watching classics (which is happening now (again!)), others I like to watch romantic, sappy Hallmark movies; thriller/mystery ones…

        I’ve been searching for suggestions (movies/shows to see) and I’m glad that I found this page.

        Hoping to see next: Sarah, Plain & Tall (trilogy). 🙂

        • Me too, Ana! Thus far, I’ve liked Hallmark’s “Gourmet Detective” films best. They’re such fun (and the actors have great chemistry). The “Garage Sale” movies are cute though too.

          I think there are seven episodes in WCTH, S2, but I’m not 100% sure. Yes, Amazon has a seventh on their instant video service https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00ZN1MLI0/ref=dv_dp_ep7 🙂

          Same here. I like a variety of genres and/or shows. It’s more fun to have an eclectic taste; keeps our TV or movie choices interesting. 🙂

          I’m glad you shared some of your favorites, and hope you continue enjoying these you’ve not seen! Sarah, Plain and Tall is a fabulous trilogy.

      • Oh you’re not! I really can’t explain why but that movie has a pull that makes me see it over and over again from time to time. I guess it just speaks to one’s heart.

    • “Ordinary Days” is one of my absolute favorites, Hannah. I really enjoy the story and yes, most definitely the fashion. 🙂

    • My All time Favorite will Always be The Magic of n have it on D hOrdlinary Days.I saw it years ago and fell in love with it .I have it on DVD and I never grow tired of it.Sadly to me the Hallmark channels are not what they use to be.I hardly watch the channels any more .The movies are very shallow.Unless they go back to Teally good movies with some depth I am not interested.Make movies like you Use to make. Naomi Joyce Beck

  4. I’m saving this article! I’ve seen a smattering of these movies but only once or bits and pieces when they’re on TV. My library system should have most of these, and I have got to get my hands on The Love Letter at least.

    • Hi, Meghan! I hope you can see some of these you might be interested in (try Feelin https://www.feeln.com/, if you have streaming capacities). I think you’d really like “The Love Letter,” if only for the setting (the story is bittersweet). It’s totally a “you” setting and era. 🙂 Thanks so much for reading.

      • Just signed up for Feel’n and am already SO glad. Such a good deal for a whole year of all these amazing movies and so many more. I’ll have to let you know when I watch some of these on your list!

        • Thanks for sharing. I’m so glad you find the service worth having, Meghan. I’d enjoy hearing which films you see and which you enjoy most! Happy watching – there are some good ones in this collection. 🙂

  5. I recommend “Promise,” which aired on CBS on December 14, 1986, and which won Emmys for the 1986-87 television series for outstanding television movie; directing; writing; lead actor James Woods; and supporting actress Piper Laurie. Woods and James Garner (who was also nominated for lead actor) play brothers. The latter makes a promise to their deceased mother to look after the younger brother (who is not capable). Push comes to shove, and the reality of what the older brother faces makes keeping that promise very difficult. “Promise” is very different from what we’re used to seeing in many “Hallmark Hall of Fame” productions. It doesn’t guarantee a happy ending. But the journey is a realistic and not necessarily dreary one. It’s really a splendid telefilm. And it’s the best one Hallmark did back in the 1980s.

  6. I’ll never forget one of the earliest and incredibly made Hallmark movies, “Beauty and the Beast” with George C. Scott and Trish Vandevere. The other one that I loved to watch is “What the Deaf Man Heard.”

    • I don’t believe I’m familiar with “Beauty and the Beast” (this adaptation), Connie! I’ll have to look that one up. I vaguely remember “What the Deaf Man Heard.” At some point I’ll have to revisit that one. Thanks so much for stopping by. 🙂

      • If that “Beauty and The Beast” ever came out on video, it would be a treasure to own. It was one of the earliest productions by Hallmark. You’ll love a re-watch of Matthew Modine in “What the Deaf Man Heard.” I’m so glad these newer ones are on Hallmark and on video.

  7. Thank you for the list! This site has been my bible for great Hallmark movies. My unpopular opinion, I prefer Loving Leah rather than The Love Letter, maybe because of that “hot and dreamy” doctor, hahaa… Please make more of Hallmark Romance/Hall of Fame lists. Keep up the good work!

    • Thank you for reading and visiting! We appreciate this. I’m so glad you discovered some good Hallmark films. And I agree. I enjoy “Loving Leah” a lot. It took me a few viewings to like “The Love Letter” as much as I eventually did (haven’t seen it in years now), but either way, I agree; The doctor is dreamy. 🙂

  8. Missing are some of the best: Our Son The Matchmaker, Straight From The Heart, and Ordinary Miracles! (For every one great Hallmark movie, there are usually several dozen painful ones. But these three are particularly good, with exceptional scripts, interesting twists, and great acting.

    • It’s been a while since I saw it, but I remember really liking “Ordinary Miracles.” That’s one I’ll for sure have to re-watch. ‘Matchmaker’ though isn’t familiar to me. Thanks for a new Hallmark to take a look at. 🙂

  9. I’m so glad I found this site! I did a google search for movies like ‘Loving Leah’ & was lucky enough to hit on this. I love Hallmark movies. It’s not easy to find wholesome family movies anymore. I obviously loved ‘Loving Leah’ and also ‘Magic of Ordinary Days’. After reading these comments I have several more to add to my list!

    • I agree. It isn’t easy to find the type of films Hallmark consistently puts out. The two you mention are among my most favorites, and I hope you discover some new favorites; let me know if you try any of these or have any favorites from Hallmark Channel. Thank you, Debbie! 🙂

  10. My favorites are: “Beauty & the Beast” (2976); “Sarah—Plain & Tall”; “Skylark”, “Winter’s End”; “The Magic of Ordinary Days”; & I look forward to the sequel tothat last one.

    • I don’t think I’ve ever seen the 70s B&TB version, but I do adore ‘Ordinary Days.’ Such a precious story. And the “Sarah, Plain and Tall” movies were my childhood!! 🙂

    • Thanks for the list. Will watch. But wondering why November Christmas is not being aired. So many of my friends love this movie as do I. Not the ordinary Christmas love story.

  11. Stones for Ibarra from the late 80s. I love it so much but it isn’t available except on some failing videos. It should be released on dvd.

  12. By favorites are all here including November Christmas. One not mentioned and one of my top 5 is A dog named Christmas. Always watch this as one of my yearly Christmas movies. Love, love it!! Thanks to all for some I haven’t seen. I totally agree with you all. I couldn’t wait for the holidays for new hallmark hall of fame movies. Now, poorly written, poorly acted and shallow. “Fallen angel” also a really great one. Thanks for all your input


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